Tag Archives: pain

What is poetry?


What is Poetry?

Is it a form of delirium, an opiate to dull the pain of living, a prayer, incantation, gentle nostalgia for a lost world of innocence, an anguished cry from the heart or a new explosive to blow up an imbecile world, a clarion call to a change of heart and mind?

When for weeks or sometimes months on end, not a single word of poetry ever emanates from the mind, would it mean that the senses have numbed? Does it means that I can feel no pain nor admire beauty?

Is poetry then not a demanding and often formidable goddess that will come to you only when you awaken your senses to both the pain and the joy that life is throwing at you and asking, in fact demanding you, not to shy away but open up your chest and allow those emotions to embed inside your being itself.

Only then does this pricey enigma reveal itself.

As lovers of poetry are we celebrating pain, nostalgia, anguish and hurt, then? Would it be right to say that when we applaud someone’s poetry and hope they would write more such words, we are wishing for them loneliness, betrayal, longing or even death?

Even within romantic poems, the heart smiles when the poet writes about longing, separation, or the sweet pain of desires.

It often seems like the goddess may be the keeper of reality, or instigator of pain itself.

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As Javed Akhtar says,

Dilon Mein Tum Apni Betaabiyan Leke Chal Rahe Ho Toh Zinda Ho Tum.

When I read these words, it is as though he is implying that the purpose of every pain, ache and sorrow is to make you feel alive and lest you forget you have the goddess of Poetry to remind you.

A poem on nostalgia By Javed Akhtar.

Transliteration

Mele

bap ki ungli thame
ek nanha sa bachcha
pahle-pahal mele mein gaya to
apni bholi-bhaali
kanchon jaisi aankhon se
ek duniya dekhi
ye kya hai aur wo kya hai
sab us ne puchha
bap ne jhuk kar
kitni sari chizon aur khelon ka
us ko nam bataya
nat ka
bazigar ka
jadugar ka
us ko kaam bataya
phir wo ghar ki jaanib laute
god ke jhule mein
bachche ne bap ke kandhe par sar rakkha
bap ne puchha
nind aati hai
waqt bhi ek parinda hai
udta rahta hai
gaon mein phir ek mela aaya
budhe bap ne kanpte hathon se
bete ki banh ko thama
aur bete ne
ye kya hai aur wo kya hai
jitna bhi ban paya
samjhaya
bap ne bete ke kandhe par sar rakkha
bete ne puchha
nind aati hai
bap ne mud ke
yaad ki pagdandi par chalte
bite hue
sab achchhe bure
aur kadwe mithe
lamhon ke pairon se udti
dhul ko dekha
phir
apne bete ko dekha
honton par
ek halki si muskan aai
haule se bola
han!
mujh ko ab nind aati hai

Translation

Fairs
Clutching his father’s finger
When a small child
Went to the fair for the first time
His innocent
Bright eyes
Looked on a new world
What is this? What is that?
He asked excitedly
His father, bending low
Told him the names
Of many things, many spectacles
About the jugglers
The daredevils
The conjurers
And what they did
Then they turned towards home
The child rocked
in the cradle of his father’s arms
And rested his head upon his shoulder
The father asked:
Are you sleepy?
Time is like a bird
That keeps flying
The fair returned to the village
The old father
Clutched his son’s arm with trembling hands
While the son
Explained all he can
About what this was and what that was
The father rested his head on his son’s shoulder
The son asked:
Are you sleepy?
The father turned
Looked down the memory lane
Saw the dust kicked up
By the feet of moments past
Good ones and bad
The bitter and the sweet
And then
Turning towards his son
A faint smile playing
On his lips
Said softly:
Yes!
I am sleepy now.

If you have a bit more time, please read this amazing article by Jayanta Mahapatra on Poetry as a form of freedom.

http://www.thehindu.com/books/singing-of-trampled-grass/article19689961.ece

 

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A grand dark cloud gathered all around her.

She wouldn’t be lying if she admitted that she knew it was lurking around, ready to swallow her whole. Standing at the edge, knowing how close it was, how easy it was for her to take a step and fall into that bottomless pit, made her clinch her gut. In that instant she could not breath, fearful at the prospect of falling in again.

But everyday acts needed to be performed, and this resulted in bland meals cooked without soul, paint brushes waiting to be stroked, that bright new dress still hanging in the closet, that pen lying in wait, no words, no new thoughts, just a grayness all around.

If Buddha were to hear her tale, he might simply ask her to live in the moment.

In the moment……

If this moment now is what defines me, then what of the moments that have made me, Me. Right at this moment am I not a culmination of moments past? Made of memories, hurt, pain, victory, satisfaction. If the past defines me, why am I not allowed to escape to the future? Just worry a little, stress out about things I cant control, create negative scenarios where all is lost?

And so she relinquishes control, falling slowing, each part of her body going numb slowly.

In the midst of the grayness, her happy past brings even darker fears; what if the future does not hold the same fervor? As time passes will she be able to fight hurt and failure with the same gusto she did in the past? May be her strength is failing her, may be she never was strong, may be they were right……

huge.96.480867She lives inside the worm hole for a day, the day turns into a week. She can hear them call her, telling her how beautiful, how special she is. She makes mental notes on everything right in her life, everything that she has, trying hard to be grateful.

It’s a bend in the road they say, not the end….come back to us, for we are ever waiting.

 


Deep darkness sometimes surrounds many of us. Depression, Negativity, Fear, Phobias, call it by any name, is a reality. Prevalent and spreading like wild fire, it is sometimes compared to a silent and slow drug.  Making me wonder how many of those happy faces around me are hiding within them this darkness, never being able to confess.

The fear of being ridiculed, being labeled weak, a vacuum of good listeners, neither friends who can be cathartic or an ego to big to admit, leads to the dark hole growing bigger.

My wish then is not that you never to be in that place, because the truth is we all do visit it. But I wish that it doesn’t last too long, that you kick the hell out of it and not linger there too long.

And I pray that you have around you, those who are patient, who believe when you don’t, who wait for you to emerge and smile that knowing smile.

The words of Kaifi Azmi in this poem talks about the lover, which sometimes can be the beloved or could it also be our darkness in whose arms we sometimes lie.

Transliteration

Uljhe uljhe jazbaat na pooch
Sehmi sehmi inayat na pooch
baar baar uska karam farmana
chupke chupke sare-baali aana
jaane kya kya woh mujhe samjhana
aur aap hi sharmajana
mukhtasar kitni thi woh raat na pooch

Aah mamnune-asar ho ki na ho
dekhiye raat basar ho ki na ho
abr ujdhe hue mandhlaye hue
taur sehme hoye ghabraye hue
ashk rukhsaar pe kuch aaye huye
aur kuch palko mein tharraye huye
aur khuda jaane seher ho ki na ho.

Translation

I did not find any prominent renditions of this poem or translations. Hence this is my humble attempt at translating his words.

Don’t ask about those knotted emotions
Don’t ask about those fearful blessings
Again and again you shower your grace
Quietly lie next to my pillow
Explaining to me all kinds of things
and feeling shy at the end of it
Don’t ask how minuscule that night felt.

Even if my sighs may or may not be that impressive
Even if the night may or may not exist
The clouds all uprooted and confused
The demeanor fearful and frightened
Those tears that lie on the cheeks
And some that lie captured in those eyelashes
Only the lord knows if the morning will ever arrive.